The 911 dispatcher who allegedly mishandled an urgent call from a Buffalo supermarket manager during a deadly mass shooting in May has been fired by the Erie County Department of Personnel.
Thursday’s dismissal, which was confirmed by CNN, did not involve the public release of the 911 dispatcher’s name, although the ECDP says that person had been on administrative leave since May 16.
And according to County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the hearing to “terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately, not following protocol” took place on Monday.
Here’s a timeline of the reported events from May 14, from the perspective of Latisha Rogers, the assistant office manager at the Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo:
Rogers was working at the store when the accused gunman — 18-year-old Payton Gendron — entered the Tops supermarket and allegedly began firing.
The gunman reportedly shot 13 people, 10 of whom died.
While working at the supermarket’s service desk with two coworkers, Rogers told CNN she suddenly heard two “large booms” in quick succession.
“I look up out the window and I saw this customer, this lady with her shopping cart — she just stopped — and she just had this really funny look on her face, and then she just turned to run,” recalls Rogers.
“Next thing you know, you just keep hearing boom, boom, boom. All we could do was just drop to the ground.”
While hiding behind the counter, and “praying” she wouldn’t be seen by the alleged gunman, Rogers stealthily grabbed her phone and dialed 911.
According to Rogers, the 911 dispatcher initially asked why Rogers was whispering during the call.
This prompted Rogers to quietly say, “Please send help, there’s a person in the store shooting.”
According to Rogers, the dispatcher then responded with, “What? I can’t hear you! Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper. They can’t hear you.”
In the aftermath of the mass shooting, Central Police Services went through all emergency calls associated with the incident.
Poloncarz reports that “(CPS) identified this one call, the issue associated with it, it was completely unacceptable.”
Previously, Poloncarz said that it wasn’t clear who ended the call, but “the 911 operator was inappropriate.”
“We teach our 911 call takers that if someone is whispering, it probably means they are in trouble,” Poloncarz said at the time.
Poloncarz added that a distressed caller could be in “an area of concern, not just with regards to active shooters but potentially with regards to domestic violence that someone may be calling.”